I love mystery fiction, both reading and writing it. After romance fiction, mystery, thriller, and suspense fiction is the most popular genre. Why?
My theory: of all the genres, mystery fiction helps us to make the most sense of the world. Just as in medieval morality plays, in crime fiction the good guys win.
Of course, the “good guys” are those chosen by authors. They may not be “good” at all. They may be evil hit men and killers, but they’re the characters authors explain to readers. As Evelyn Waugh said, “To understand all is to forgive all.”
That said, as a new author, why should you write mystery fiction?
My favorite reason is that a good mystery sells forever. The very first detective novel, Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone, is still read today.
Plus, when you’re writing a mystery, you’ve got something to write about.
Mystery fiction gives you something to write about
If you’re a new author your novel can seem like a trackless wilderness when your inspiration wears off. (Sadly, it will.) However, when you’re writing a mystery novel, the writing becomes easier, because the crime forms the spine of your novel, or short story.
Suddenly, you have lots to write about. You have a story question: whodunnit? or why dunnit? As you develop your sleuth and crime, your trackless wildness develops pathways and oases.
So let’s look at three reasons for you to consider writing Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (MTS) fiction.
1. Plotting: mystery fiction makes plotting easier
As we’ve said, with a mystery you know the story question your readers want answered. You therefore have two plots: the plot of the criminal and the crime, as well as the plot of the sleuth solving that crime.
Paradoxically, two plots are easier for new authors to handle than a single plot. You’ll learn how to distract and manipulate readers. You’ll open loops and close them again, to develop suspense.
As well as easier plotting, selling your fiction becomes easier too.
2. Labels: mystery fiction is easy to label
“What’s it about?” becomes the central question when you’re selling your novel. Whether you’re writing a blurb, or are writing a query letter for a literary agent, you need to be able to tell people what your novel’s about — preferably in a couple of sentences.
The old truism: confused people won’t buy nails it. You need to convince readers to give your novel a chance. What better way than with an intriguing crime? (We go into this in detail in our new guide, Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.)
3. Readers: mystery fiction helps you to build your readership
When you explore mystery fiction, you’ll find that series are huge. Moreover, a successful series is pretty much a license to print money. If readers love your sleuth, they want more.
Not only will you build your readership with each new novel in your series, many of your loyal readers will read your entire series.
Discover mystery fiction, the gift that keeps on giving
Check out our program, Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense now.
When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.More info →
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.
You can rescue books which aren't selling, and have confidence that your new books will have the best chance to find their audience.More info →